Trial begins in case of zip-tied woman
April 3, 2018
Minden, Nev. — Testimony began in the case of a man accused of zip-tying and beating a woman, who was found running half-naked on Jan. 2, 2017, by the side of a Gardnerville road.
Both the prosecution and defense agree that the victim was beaten and that defendant Donald Eby used zip ties to try and restrain her.
However, Eby's defense attorney Brad Johnston told a panel of nine women and five men that the woman attacked Eby.
"Did Don Eby try to restrain her by using zip ties?" Johnston asked the jury. "Did he hit her in the face?"
Johnston said Eby did both in self-defense on Jan. 2, 2017. Eby is facing charges of coercion and battery with substantial bodily harm.
"He acted in self defense in the face of a drunken violent rage," Johnston said in his opening argument.
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Prosecutor Erik Levin pointed out that the victim was 4-feet, 11-inches tall and weighed 90-100 pounds.
He acknowledged that she'd been drinking for two days. Her son had overdosed a few weeks before and she was being evicted from her apartment.
Eby and the woman had been dating, and she came to his house on Centerville Lane to seek solace.
But Levin said that after she arrived, Eby made himself scarce until the evening of Jan. 2 when she found him in the kitchen.
"And then she said something mean," Levin said describing how she called Eby a name.
Levin said Eby admitted to restraining her and punching her in the face multiple times, breaking bones in her face.
"She played dead and when he left the house, she ran out and into the driveway," he said. "And what did Donald Eby do? He went to bed."
That's where she was found running, hands tied, face bleeding, wearing only a robe and some underwear.
One of the people who found the victim near the intersection of Centerville and Waterloo testified on Tuesday that the woman's hands were bound.
The witness said it was dark when she and her daughter were coming home from her parents when they saw something along the road.
"At first we thought it might be an animal and then we got closer," she said.
Johnston claimed the victim was so intoxicated when she was found that deputies had to interview her the next day to get a coherent story out of her.
That's when deputies obtained an arrest and search warrant for Eby's home.
According to the sheriff's office, the Special Weapons and Tactics team and the Crisis Negotiation Team were called out to serve the warrant on Jan. 3, 2017.
Eby was taken into custody and was interviewed by investigators about what happened.
Johnston said that Eby was cooperative and that he never asked for an attorney or invoked his right to remain silent.
Jury selection took most of the day on Tuesday, with the jury selected and sworn in by 3:30 p.m.
Eby is out of custody. District Judge Tom Gregory is presiding over the case.